Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Sai Rana Show how in Jude the Obscure, Hardy explores ways in which, despite having 'lost its rational justification'; Christianity is still socially and imaginatively powerful.

In 1859 Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was uncovered and the most important effect of scientific movement was its impact on conventional religious beliefs. In Darwin's book the Origin of Species man was placed among the animals in an evolutionary process that worked by natural selection derived from fossil evidence. Therefore it became clear that the account of the Creation contained in the Old Testament was not literally true. These ideas encountered intense hostility and were at first rejected, but they provoked profound questioning.

This context reflects very distinctly in the Jude the Obscure as during the time in which Hardy was writing scepticism and confusion towards faith was rife.

In spite of this background, there are religious references, which Hardy has used in Jude that add such potency and importance to the story in various ways.

The novel symbolizes the clash between progress and medievalism, but as much as the medievalism and faith that goes with it wants to be cast off, it posses an innate power.

The training college is one institution signifying Christianity's 'loss of rational justification'. We hear echoes of Hardy's own past considering his sisters whom had gone to a Teachers' Training School at Salisbury. "In 1891, he visited the (training college) and was reminded by that visit of the painful restrictions to which his sisters had been subjected." The training school dictated subordination of self via Christianity, "the species of nunnery known as the Training-School..." The institution of marriage constitutes a large amount to the irrationality of Christianity. It seems that sexual familiarity are firm grounds to be joined in 'holy' matrimony. Jude feels...